Google has begun testing a service that recognizes words in a voicemail message and can then email the transcript to your inbox or deliver it via SMS. The new service called Google Voice is actually based on technology from GrandCentral Communications, which the internet giant acquired in 2007, and puts them in direct competition with both traditional phone services and VoIP providers.

The new voicemail transcription functionality will only be available to existing customers of GrandCentral, for now, and comes in addition to original core features such as allowing users to have one number for all of their incoming and outgoing communications, filter calls before answering them, record conversations and access a searchable archive of recordings and voicemail via web.

The service is still in closed beta stage, but the company expects to accept U.S. based users only within the coming weeks, as it continues to expand beyond its traditional search-engine business. Other new features being tested include the ability to link people into conference calls, easily access the Goog-411 directory assistance, and make free domestic calls or low-priced international calls.